When you made this trip, you did it with one or more friends didn’t you? Imagine yourself during that trip again. What was it like, those hours spent with your friends in the confines of a car? The destination was important, but best of all you remember the feelings and emotions of being in that car heading towards the destination. I am right, aren’t I?
A journey made with friends, people you trust and whose company you enjoy is more enjoyable than the destination itself. You talked about mundane day-to-day things and then you spoke about some pretty deep stuff, you laughed and reminisced and yet you also felt comfortable in the long silences.
By now you are thinking what do long bygone road trips have to do with private banking. It has got absolutely everything to do with private banking. Think of the car as the bank, not the banker. The car has the necessary attributes to take you where you want to go, but it is useless without human leadership and action. Think of the outside world with the changing scenery and landscape as the Market, sometimes it might be barren and sometime lush with vegetation, when travelling in a car sometimes you are on a fast straight lane and sometimes driving along winding country roads, sometimes stuck in traffic and yes, there is always the potential for a crash.
This is where the private banker comes into our story. He is your companion on the road trip; he is your friend. As your companion and friend he should care, I mean really care about what happens to you. The private banker’s job is in fact to take care of you.
You and your banker should be going places together, the banker should know the countryside better than you and he can warn you about the dangers and obstacles along the way, the most important thing is that you should feel comfortable during the trip and you should enjoy it. Since this is a long road trip sometimes the banker is the driver and sometimes you swap places and he rides shotgun, with you controlling things. Point being, it is a joint effort.
To do it successfully, like any friend, he has to know you and be interested in you as a person. This is where personal chemistry comes into the mix. You have to like your banker and he has to like you. You need to enjoy each others company, more importantly you also need to trust each other.
The cynics (if they have read this far) will be shouting and laughing in equal measure at their computer screens right about now. “Banking is about making money off of your client. A banker cannot really be your friend”. That sentiment is justified if we look at the multitude of scandals that have beset the whole banking industry over the past several years. This actually gets us to the heart of the problem: Too often the wrong kind of people were hiring the wrong kind of people to private banking jobs.
Private banking has always been a business, it has always been about making money, but it needn’t and shouldn’t be about making a maximum profit today. Without fail the oversize risks you take today to maximise profits in the short term, come to bite you in the backside in the long term. Private banking should be about making a fair profit over the span of a lifetime, that is real private banking. The only way a private banker can make a fair profit over the span of a lifetime is if he gains the trust and respect of his client. You can only have a lifelong relationship with someone you trust and like to be around. This means finding a private banker who also genuinely likes you and cares for you. If you go about searching for the banker with the best returns over a certain period you will eventually be disappointed. When the markets go in to crisis and things head south, the smooth talking superstar will be the last to pick up the phone. It’s the person who cares about you as a person, who is the one who will want to take care of you and will take care of you in times of trouble.